Read These 7 Books to Get a Competitive Advantage as an Entrepreneur

Entrepreneurship is extremely difficult, and even experienced founders do not know everything about starting a business. Excelling in the business world often means expanding your knowledge through trial and error, talking to people who have gone through similar experiences, or simply picking up a book on the topic.

While there is no ultimate guide to entrepreneurship, there is a lot of great material written on the subject, and taking the time to read through it can put you at a competitive advantage. Read on for a list of some truly great books on entrepreneurship to hit the shelves.

1. The $100 Startup: Reinvent the Way You Make a Living, Do What You Love, and Create a New Future

Written by Chris Guillebeau, this book is perfect for anyone scared of starting a business because of a lack of funds. Despite what you may think, you do not need a ton of money or investors to start a business. This book goes through many examples of successful entrepreneurs who started companies without much capital. These success stories are bound to inspire you and give you some ideas about how to tackle your dreams with limited money. A little bit of creativity can get you anywhere — and that’s what this book reinforces.

2. Triggers: 30 Sales Tools You Can Use to Control the Mind of Your Prospect to Motivate, Influence, and Persuade

Many people turn to Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion by Robert Cialdini as the seminal book on the psychology of marketing. However, Triggers by Joseph Sugarman also deserves a lot of credit. What distinguishes this book is its ability to use funny stories to make its points about marketing and how to conceptualize the target market’s mindset. These stories not only make the book enjoyable to read, but they also help you remember what you’ve read when you need to apply it.

3. Founders at Work: Stories of Startups Early Days

This book by Jessica Livingston covers the stories you don’t hear about: young entrepreneurs struggling to build empires. We often hear about the success stories, but we do not get much information about the grind that was necessary to achieve that success. Livingston interviews some of the most successful entrepreneurs around about their journey and how they got started. You will find some great tips here about how to angle your business and guide its growth, or at least some solace in the fact that many of these names stumbled plenty of times before they become successful.

4. How to Win Friends and Influence People

A classic written by Dale Carnegie, this book helps you build meaningful relationships that will help you take your business to the next level. The book breaks the entire process of building relationships down into 30 key principles and provides several examples to illustrate each. These examples help you understand exactly what Carnegie means and see how the principles can be applied in everyday life. More than 30 million copies of the book have been sold since its publication in 1936, which speaks to how timeless the content truly is.

5. True North: Discover Your Authentic Leadership

Bill George and Peter Sims explore what it means to be a leader in this book. Entrepreneurs need to understand the different approaches to leadership even if they already have a distinctive style. One approach to leadership does not work in every situation, so it is helpful to develop some flexibility. However, if you feel like your leadership needs some work, this is the right book for you.

True North aims to help you to define your values and develop leadership principles, which will, in turn, allow you to become an authentic leader. Rather than tell you how to run your business, the book helps you figure out how you want to lead.

6. The Founder’s Dilemmas: Anticipating and Avoiding the Pitfalls That Can Sink a Startup

Many entrepreneurs focus on what they need to do write rather than the pitfalls they need to avoid. In this book, Noam Wasserman looks at many of the common small business mistakes that cause companies to fold. This book is great at teaching entrepreneurs how not to fail, which is just as important as succeeding.

The Founder’s Dilemmas helps you to familiarize yourself with the typical pitfalls of entrepreneurship, reducing your risk of falling prey to them. Wasserman goes deep into the nitty-gritty of small businesses but provides an incredible amount of invaluable information in the process.

7. The Simplicity Cycle: A Field Guide to Making Things Better without Making Them Worse

In entrepreneurship, ideas and processes can get very complicated. In this book, Dan Ward argues that complexity can lead to failure. Entrepreneurs need to step back and ask themselves if things that seem complicated can be simplified. While some areas of business are unavoidably complex, it’s wise to try to find a balance between simplicity and intricacy. If you think that is not possible, then you need to read this book.

Ward shows you how to identify and fix problems by simplifying the processes around them. In addition, he explores the common signs that your business has become too complicated.

Robin Stoby has been affiliated with the Guyana Bank for Trade and Industry Limited (GBTI) since 1991.